Powder Hound Winter Ale - Big Sky Brewing Company

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Powder Hound Winter AlePowder Hound Winter Ale

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BA SCORE
82
good

461 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 461
Reviews: 239
rAvg: 3.62
pDev: 12.43%
Wants: 9
Gots: 16 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Big Sky Brewing Company visit their website
Montana, United States

Style | ABV
American Amber / Red Ale |  7.20% ABV

Availability: Fall

Notes/Commercial Description:
Two words describe winter in our neck of the woods... cold, dark, and snowy. Just the way we like it! At 7.2% ABV, Powder Hound Winter Ale gives just the right amount of warmth, balanced by its rich taste and generous dose of Hallertau, Palisade, and Amarillo hops. After a cold day of getting it done or just relaxing, the avalanche of flavor will have you saying these four words - "I'll have another Powder Hound"!

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 02-13-2002)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 461 | Reviews: 239 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Expressplr10
3.5/5  rDev -3.3%

Photo of dgherm
3.5/5  rDev -3.3%

Photo of imperialking
3.5/5  rDev -3.3%

Photo of russpowell
3.53/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Here's my take on this year's release:

Pours copper/reddish orange with 2+ fingers of sand colored head.
Above average lacing & head retention

S: Some breadyness, not much else

T: Earthy hops up front along with hints of cherry & brown sugary malt. Breadyness & tobacco-like hoppyness, along with a hint of raspberry & caramel as this warms. Finishes a bit warming, with citric & herbal hops, plus just a hint of orange jam

MF: Medium-bodied with moderate carbonation, a little juicy, & okay balance

Drinks pretty easy, this isn't as good as it was, but I could still easily session on this. This works better as winter warmer than an amber, but I'm not sure I'd agree with the original call

Photo of beveritt
3.53/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks go out to wasatch for this beer.

Presentation: Poured from a 12 oz brown bottle into an Imperial pint glass. label depicts a wolf standing in snow. Printing on the neck, but no easily discernible bottling date.

Appearance: Pours with 2 fingers of medium tan head. This settles slowly to a thin yet complete coating, leaving behind nice lacing. The beer itself is a brilliant ruby/copper color. A very, very tiny amount of sediment remains in the bottle.

Smell: Strong caramel malts with underlying sugar sweetness.

Taste: Semi-sweet malt backbone with an ever so slightly vegetal hop bitterness in the finish. Lingering caramel malt.

Mouthfeel: Lower than average carbonation level. Body is good.

Drinkability: An easy drinking beer, but nothing exceptional. I find so many amber ales to be kind of "meh" and this one follows suit.

Photo of bmwats
3.53/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a standard pint.

A: Dark golden hue. Moderate amounts of rising effervescence. Pours a 1 finger, bubbly, white head. Some slight yet persistent lacing.

S: Yeast, sourdough, and pine nuts. A little orange.

T: Hops and yeast. Some lightly sweet and acidic lemon and orange citrus.

M: Crisp yet syrupy. The elevated alcohol is apparent. Biting finish with almost a synthetic sweetness that lingers on the palate.

D: Elevated alcohol will slow your progression a bit, but pretty much sessionable.

Atmosphere is pretty good. Dark hue, continual effervescence, slight head and lacing. Nose is Yeasty with some pine hop. Yeasty, hoppy, and a little sweet. Overall, this is a good quaff.

Photo of Tballz420
3.53/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This brew is a brown to dark-brown color, medium tan head with some cascading action. Fair amount of lace. Some caramel malt action on the nose, touch of hops. Sweet malt front, caramel, punctuated in the jaw by some bittering hops. Fairly thin mouth, I can see where they were thinking about going with this beer, but they need some more of everything. Not bad but could surely be better.

Photo of OKCNittany
3.53/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: 1" off white head. Decent retention and lacing. Clear dark copper.

S: Light aroma of toasted malts. Had an initial fruityness that disappeared quickly.

T: Toasted malt flavor throughout. Finished with a nice hop bitterness and something slightly off.

M: Medium body with tingly carbonation. Dry citric hop finish.

D: Not a bad brew, but for Big Sky, it falls a bit short. I'm not entirely sure what's missing, but I'm sure a healthy dose of additional hops wouldn't hurt. (has it ever?)

Photo of BeardedRiker
3.55/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The last Big Sky beer I had was a couple of years ago. I thought it was OK and never felt the need to go and try more. Since I've been asked and convinced to try another and review it. I like pretty much every winter ale I come across so I thought getting the Powder Hound would be a good choice, and it was. Let's see what the mountain folk of Montana came up with!

Like most beers that are good, I knew this one was just by pouring it out. Its aroma hit my nostrils pretty fast, but that'll be touched on later. The Powder Hound has a great head on it. It's thick, foamy, off-white in color, and leaves plenty of lacing as well as leaving a foamy film on the surface throughout drinking the beer that is a clear golden-orange. The smell is wonderful. To me it smells like a sugary cookie in some ways. Sweet malts and earthy hops are dominant with citrus present underneath. I don't get that floral aroma like most pale ales have from the hops but that's not a negative toward this beer. It smells like a winter ale should be: hoppy, plenty of malt, and earthy.

I think what I enjoy most about Powder Hound is the mouthfeel and balance of flavor. Hops are most prevalent but there isn't too much bitterness. It's very nice though. Instead it has a more earthy-spicy flavor that's not overwhelming. Mango citrus tang follows the hops with malty sweetness and a light roastiness. When drinking this I think of sitting by a fire after being outside in the cold and snow. In this case I guess the Powder Hound has done its job of being a winter ale since it makes me imagine drinking it in the winter. :P Hop bitterness and citrus do linger at the very end in the mouth. There's nothing like good flavors lingering to help you have a more lasting enjoyment of the beer. Although I don't think this beer is extraordinary, it is definitely very good. It's a great example of a quintessential winter ale. If you're snowed in then get this one!

Photo of imagese
3.55/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A- hazy golden with a one finger head that faded quickly, hung around as a fine layer, and left light spotty lacing

S- grassy hops, apple, and a lot of yeasty spice. This smells like lager yeast was used

T- bitter apple and grassy hop combo along with a nice spiciness. There is a strong boozy yeast finish

M
- crisp and dry light body and nice carbonation

D- interesting beer. Very easy drinking. Not a typical winter ale at all

I could swear that this an attempt at an imperial pilsener.

Photo of ThePeskyDingo
3.55/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours with a 1 finger off white head. Beer color is a dull copper brown with some carbonation.

Smells of sweet dried fruits, malts, caramels

Tastes of malts, nuts and dried fruits.

Mouthfeel is smooth and medium bodied. finishes clean.

Easy to drink. Could drink several in a session if the opportunity presented itself.

Photo of nukem5
3.55/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a great dark rich amber with solid foam cap which clings to walls of glass.

S: Aromas of light floral hops and sweet malty goodness.

T: Taste is a full throttle blast of sweet caramel malts with a light hop finish.

M: Medium body with smooth character all it's own.

O: Overall good beer with a bit of a boozey bite to help fight off winter cold blahs and bring in the holidays.

Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.55/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Fuzzy, dark orangish bronze; a relatively common winter beer color it seems. The compact, orange-tinted beige cap features a pebbled surface of gently popping bubbles. As it drops, sloppy rings of lace appear on the upper portion of the glass.

The nose is redolent of heavily toasted malt and puts me in mind of coarse, heavy, dark bread. I don't smell chocolate per se, so comparisons to pumpernickel don't really apply. It smells a bit earthy as well. The aroma needs something to give it some life. Hops would do the trick, but are virtually absent by my nose.

Powder Hound Winter Ale tastes better than it smells. While it's still malt-dominant, it's more multi-dimensional than the nose could ever hope to be. The malt backbone is firm and stops just short of roasted. Caramel and mild chocolate lead the way and a moderate sweetness helps rather than hinders.

Despite the early and mid sweetness, bitterness gathers itself at the midway point and increases modestly through the finish. The sweet-bitter interplay is wonderful, I just wish the underlying flavor was more to my liking. The body is a click or two above medium and the carbonation is on the shy end of things, resulting in a lovely mouthfeel.

I've been pleased by Big Sky in the past. Powder Hound isn't bad, but a few tweaks are needed to bring it up to the level of its stablemates. I feel like a broken record sometimes, but more hops would improve this beer immensely... more hops would improve this beer immensely... more hops would improve this beer immensely...

Photo of CamuMahubah
3.58/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured a dark amber into the mug.

Choice malt aroma.

Complex...this beer has a nice malty backbone with a particular bite. Delicate yet bold. More of a caramel malt than cacao. Hopped fairly well.

Medium with a nice lubricity. One smiles when the hop kick is realized.

This is a good beer and tonite the high is 25° and the low was around 4°, so the odds of this gal having a good show were pretty much spot on. Never once did she disappoint...

Photo of rebel1771
3.58/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark reddish brown with a nice off white head.

Earthy smell with bready malts making up the body of the aroma. Just a touch of caramel finsihes off the aroma.

Roasted malt flavor jumps out of right up front with a touch of candied fruit in the end. The mouthfeel ends a little wattery but nice overall.

Photo of zacharius
3.58/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

This beer pours a reddish brown color with a nice head that lasts throughout the drink. Aroma is nice, sweet toffee and hops. The taste is sweet toffee balanced with hops, kind of an english hoppy flavor. This beer has a very thick mouthfeel. Drinkability is fine, I wouldn't have too many because they are a bit sweet. Seems like it is alot stronger of a beer than it actually is.

Photo of Vashtar
3.58/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Nice head! It's fairly light and really clear.

The smell has some metallic and pine hints, with an overall caramel scent.

The taste is... metallic, HOPPY and nice. I'm not sure this is really a "winter ale."

The mouthfeel is fluff! Totally like that fake snow stuff that they use in diapers.

Photo of WastingFreetime
3.58/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed from tasting notes.

Poured out a darker amber with decent clarity, two fingers of foamy head that stayed around for a minute and a half, with medium levels of lacing left behind. Smells like an even blend of citrus peel, chocolate malt, and a garnish of vanilla on top. Tastes has a gentle toasted nut and vanilla character combined with a citrus / earthy hopping garnish. Noticeably absent is any kind of 'holiday spicing', for better or for worse. Feels thicker in flavor than the body actually is, gently carbonated and creamy in texture.

Photo of cretemixer
3.58/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Clear light auburn in color with an off-white head that fades fast leaving a sporadic sheeting of lace.
Caramel malts with a hint of dark fruits. Raisins and a bit of over-ripe peach.
Fruity taste, but not overly so. Less spice than I was expecting from a "winter ale" though. There is a very mild hoppiness that comes into play by mid-glass as the beer finishes on a dry note.
Mediumish body with nice mellow carbonation. Slightly oily too.
Not a bad beer, by any means, but I had hopes that this dog had a little more bite. Thanks to Bighuge for the sample.

Photo of FreshHawk
3.59/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Spikester
3.6/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Clear amber with a modest white head, Not much on the lacings. Smell is malty and bready yeast.
Taste is earthy bitter hops fair amount of caramel malts. Hops are floral grapefruit and earthy,
Mouthfeel is medium with average carbonation. It has a medium dry bitter finish.
Overall an unusual amber. Almost an Impy Amber if such a style exists. Needs more spiice and malts for a winter warmer. Otherwise a tasty brew.

Photo of MJSJr
3.6/5  rDev -0.6%

Photo of StoutHunter
3.6/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I picked up a bottle of Big Sky's Powder Hound Winter Ale last week for $1.69 at The Lager Mill. I haven't seen this beer around before, so I decided to take a chance on it, so lets see how it goes. No visible bottling date, but I know it's fairly fresh. Poured from a brown 12oz bottle into an imperial pint glass.

A- The label looks nice and I think it's pretty well done. It poured a light amber color that was slightly golden and it took on some amber hues when held to the light with a finger and a half worth of slightly off white head that that died down to a thin ring that stayed till the end and left a nice ring of lacing. This was a nice looking beer but the color and head were just a little on the weak side.

S- The aroma starts off with some very sweet caramel malts that imparted a very sweet, grainy, caramel, and a slight brown sugar like aroma. After that comes the hops which seem to be floral and citrusy with the citrus fruit aspect seeming to stick out the most imparting a sweet mango, orange and grapefruit aroma. The aroma is nice, I like the caramel and citrus fruit aromas but it has a little to much sweetness to it.

T- The taste seems to be pretty similar to the aroma and it starts off with the malts that have a higher amount of medium sweetness to it and imparts a grainy, bready, and caramel like flavor. After that comes a light amount of spices that aren't that noticeable and are followed by a good amount of citrus and floral hops with the citrus still seeming to stick out the most and they impart some nice light citrus hops flavors with no one fruit overpowering each other. On the finish there's a slightly lighter amount of medium bitterness with a pretty grainy and slightly sweet aftertaste. This was a nice tasting beer that seemed to be pretty balanced and very true to style.

M- Smooth, clean, crisp, on the lighter side of being medium bodied with a slightly higher amount of medium carbonation that was just a little prickly. This beer had a nice mouthfeel that was very true to style.

Overall I thought this was a nice beer and an above average example of the style, it had all the things that I look for in a good Amber Ale and the balance was pretty nice. This beer had very good drinkability, it was very smooth, crisp, a little refreshing, and it had a decent amount of flavor to hold my attention, I could drink a few of these without a problem, it's a pretty easy drinking Red Ale and I like that. What I liked the most about this beer was the drinkability, it was very good and better then most Amber Ales and it also hid it's alcohol very nicely. What I liked the least about this beer was how sweet it smelled, it had me preparing for the worse but luckily all that sweetness didn't make it to the taste. I would buy this beer again to keep around in the fridge since I think it's a good example of the style and it's always nice to have a quality easy drinking Amber Ale on hand, I recommend this beer to just about anyone, fans of the style should really appreciate it. All in all I was pretty happy with this beer and I thought it was very solid and a good example of the style. the last couple Big Sky beers I had weren't too impressive so it's nice to get one that I enjoy. My only problem with this beer is that I think it's miss marketed, I don't really think of this as Winter Ale, it has that nice Amber Ale flavor that is perfect for the summer and fall and I think this beer would do much better if marketed as a year round Amber Ale instead of a Winter Ale, but that's just my opinion. Either was this was pretty solid and I'm happy I tried it.

Photo of hopdog
3.6/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle.

Poured a medium to deeper orangish color with a small sized off white head. Aromas of toffee, caramel, roast, and chocolate. Tastes of toffee, roasted and toasted malts, and I was getting a lighter fruitiness.

Notes from and tasted on 02/01/08.

Photo of KajII
3.6/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

[Best served in a Trappist glass]

The pour was a hazy medium orange with an average sized (1-2 finger) white creamy head that diminished into a puddle of residue which in turn created streaking sheets of lacing.

The aroma was of a mild bread malt, pine hops and a sweet doughy yeast with notes of caramel, toffee, coriander, a bit of clove and just a touch of alcohol.

The taste was malty and mildly sweet with notes of caramel and toffee early on and then progressed into a nice bitter hoppy flavor that had notes of some dark fruit and spices with a hint of alcohol at the end. The flavor lingered for a nice long time and left a nice spicy malty flavor on the taste buds.

Mouthfeel was medium in body and a tad watery in texture with a medium carbonation.

Overall a nice bold Winter Ale that had just the right amount of spices and a great hoppy finish.

Powder Hound Winter Ale from Big Sky Brewing Company
82 out of 100 based on 461 ratings.